Illini take on No. 22 Kentucky at home

By Tim Griffin

tweet: Illini prepare for No. 22 Kentucky at home

Coming off a 4-2 loss to Notre Dame, the Illinois women’s tennis team is preparing to face Kentucky in the Illini’s third home match of the season against Kentucky.

So far in practice this week, the Illini have focused on what went wrong in the match this past weekend to prepare for Kentucky.

“We did a poor job of making adjustments in our match versus Notre Dame in particular making adjustments quickly, so that has been a focus of ours,” head coach Evan Clark said. “We also have to make sure we are playing to our strengths when at all possible.”

Junior Madie Baillon went 2-0 against Notre Dame, winning in both her singles match and her doubles match. But that’s not stopping her from continuing to improve and prepare for Kentucky.

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“It was nice winning in both of those matches,” Baillon said. “But as college tennis is a team sport, my game plan is to keep everyone’s energy positive and moving forward to our match against Kentucky.

Kentucky is ranked No. 22 in the most recent ITA rankings. The Wildcats are 3-1 so far on the Spring season, losing only to No. 12 Michigan. This will be their fifth away match of the Spring.

“Kentucky is very good team and has a tremendous amount of talent,” Clark said. “We will need to do a good job of not playing to their weapons, playing some good defense and jumping on offense early.”

The Illini will be back at home for the third time this season, playing at the Atkins Tennis Center. The Illini will play at home for the rest of February.

“Playing at home is always nice,” Baillon said. “Having the ability of really getting the crowd involved is definitely an advantage. As well as playing on the courts we practice on everyday.”

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